Red Deer-North voters say they are tired of the games politicians play.
Residents said what’s missing from the campaign trail for the April 23 provincial election is honesty.
“Don’t make a lot of promises you can’t keep because we know you can’t keep them,” said Evelyn Russell, 85, who was having coffee at Parkland Mall on Wednesday.
The revelation that some Alberta MLAs were paid for sitting on a committee that hadn’t met in three years was another sore point for Russell.
“I never got anything for nothing when I worked.
“That’s one thing I don’t think I like about politics. Politicians give me the impression they get in there to get as much as they can out of it.”
She’s already made up her mind to vote for the Progressive Conservatives, but said it would be good if they had more competition in the legislature from other parties.
She said Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith has made some good points, but what does she know about being in government.
“(Premier Alison) Redford has taken on a big job and I’m glad it’s her,” said Russell who also admired the work of PC incumbent Mary Anne Jablonski.
When a Tory staffer stepped over the line by suggesting Smith’s campaign promises concerning families were insincere, Redford wasn’t afraid to apologize to Smith, Russell said.
Shawn Thompson, who was at Three Mile Bend with his dog Winston, said politicians always avoid specifics when it comes to their party’s policies.
“They just seem to bicker. Tear strips off each other. They are more focused on bashing the other party,” Thompson said.
“That’s just the way it is, I guess. It’s easier to make people hate something than it is to get them to like you.”
Despite the interest generated by having two female party leaders battling to be premier, Thompson doesn’t expect a big turnout at the polls.
“As long as things don’t get too bad, no one really gets out and votes.
“A lot of people have just got so used to the Conservative’s winning, there’s not a lot of people who want to vote.”
He’s torn between voting for the PCs or Wildrose.
“I don’t know which one yet because they seem to have very similar stands on a lot of issues.
“I’d like to maybe vote other than Conservative. They always give the same story, but nothing changes. It’s been how many years now.”
Judy English, a language tutor working with an adult student at Dawe Branch of the Red Deer Public Library, said she was fed up with the way all politicians gloss over their policies.
And forums where candidates speak are no help, she said.
“Give me the truth. Give me the details. And tell me exactly what is actually going to happen.
“Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear,” English said.
“They’re not actually lying. But they’re not actually telling the truth either.
“The broad statement is what they hope people will accept. Well, the citizens of Alberta are quite a bit smarter than that.”
Politicians shouldn’t sell voters short. Most are equipped with computers and can search for the answers they seek, she said.
English ranked Redford and Smith had equal appeal. She did not support Jablonski, preferring either Liberal candidate Michael Dawe or Wildrose candidate Randy Weins.
Marion Kosinski, who finished exercising at G. H. Dawe Community Centre, said she is a Redford fan.
“She tends to be more on the left than on the right. Also, I’m very impressed with how she’s handling herself in the last few months,” said Kosinski who expects either a tight race or an upset.
Sydney Tough, a Grade 12 student at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School who just turned 18, said she hasn’t decided yet who will get her vote.
She wants to do some research into the candidates and their parties.
“I definitely know that I’m going to vote now that I’m 18. For me, the biggest thing is that I’ve made a well-informed decision,” said Tough who planned to attend an Alberta Party meeting.
Voting without being informed is just as bad as not voting, Tough said after finishing lunch at City Roast Coffee.
But the spring election catches many 18-year-olds when they are busy trying to determine their future, like deciding where to attend post-secondary, she said.